Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

City Looks At Partnerships To Help Ease A Food Desert Scenario

This Publix at the Gateway Town Center is scheduled to close on December 28.
Jacksonville Daily Record
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The planned closing of a Publix in the Gateway Town Center on Jacksonville’s Northside in late December is expected to turn the neighborhood into a food desert.

Officials are looking at some innovative solutions to make sure people in the area can get healthy food.

A food desert is an urban area where at least 500 people live at least a mile away from a full-service grocery store or market that sells fruits, vegetables and fresh meat.


The closing of the Gateway Publix would leave hundreds without a nearby grocery, and taking public transit to the next closest one would be difficult.

Kirk Wendland leads the City of Jacksonville Office of Economic Development. He said Tuesday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross that the city is looking to partner with JTA to offer people rides to grocery stores at discounted rates, and, possibly Feeding Northeast Florida on a mobile market program.

Listen:  Full interview with Wendland and Feeding Florida CEO and President Susan King

“It might be able to be in one neighborhood one day, another the next, and bring fresh food to people out there in some of the nearby locations.”

Wendland said the city might even look to partner with grocery delivery apps like Instacart or Shipt, to help get food to people in local food deserts.

Melissa Ross can be reached at, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit .

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.